Revue Magazine February 2023

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FEBRUARY 2023 Year 31 No. 12 Guatemala’s English-language Magazine
La Antigua Interactive Map On the Cover 3rd Place Popular Vote “Catching Up” Santiago, Atitlan by
For Business Listings, Information, Maps and Events Calendar Guatemala’s English-language Ezine Previous Revue articles and Photo Contests Adve R tise R i N de X places to go, things to do and fun to be had Restaurants - Hotels Shopping - Services Real Estate - Travel FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE INTERACTIVE REVUE tel: 5031-0859 From the Publishers CLICK TO Buy fresh-baked goods Get your car repaired Find some great restaurants t H is MON t H i N R ev U e PHOTO CONTEST Theme for March, 2023 “Antigua Guatemala” click for details
Kerstin Sabene

GUAte MALA CHOCOLAte... a sweet Love Affair

page 32

FAM i Ly, LO ve and


page 48

Places to go, things to do and fun to be had...

Click on title to go to desired page



home cooked meals and fresh bread baked daily

CeRRO sAN CRistOBAL organic farm, slow food, garden-to-table restaurant

tHAi-WOW delicious thai food in a beautiful setting

CAFÉ CONdesA farm-to-table since 1993

eN UN dOs POR CRePes paninis, savory & sweet crepes, smoothies...


ARNOLds GARAGe engine repair, transmissions, a/c, master mechanic

COMUNiteL internet service where no one else gives it

vet PRO veterinary clinic - English, Spanish, French spoken

Breakfasts, Sandwiches, Burgers, Stuffed Potatoes, Cakes, Pies & Cookies

Desayunos, Sandwiches, Hamburguesas Papas Rellenas, Pasteles, Pays & Galletas

PAsteL de vAiNiLLA y FResA
Restaurant Cerro San Cristobal, La Antigua video courtesy of Mexcal-Rhet Filadelfia Coffee Tour in Antigua

from the publishers

With the arrival of February comes Valentine’s Day (Día del Cariño).

The day was first recognized as “The Feast of St. Valentine” in A.D. 269. Today, roses, greeting cards to loved ones and friends, and of course, chocolates are the traditional gifts.

The Photo Contest this month was “Friends & Lovers in Guatemala” and we received some excellent photography.

On the chocolate front, two writers bring us some great insight (and a tasty recipe) of this marvellous treat. In “Guatemala Chocolate, a Sweet Love Affair” Kerstin Sabene takes us through the origin and artisanal creation process. In “Family, Love and Guatemalan Chocolate” Chef Amalia Moreno-Damgaard talks of the way in which chocolate is such an integral part of Guatemala.

We ask all of you to Be Our Valentine.

revue team

Publishers/editors John & Terry Kovick Biskovich

you can watch the Mark Walker interview on Global Connections tv with Bill Miller by clicking here.

Photography Luis Toribio, César Tián

Graphic designer Hadazul Cruz

Contributing Writer Mark D. Walker

Webmaster/social Media JB

systems Luis Juárez, Luis Toribio

Publishing Company San Joaquin Producciones, S.A.


1st Place Judges vote “El amanecer es la manera en la que Dios nos dice: ‘Empecemos de nuevo’” Corazón de Agua by Vilma Sifuentes

1st Place Popular Vote "José & Kelsey" San Pedro la laguna by @motochapin502 2nd Place Popular vote "Tikal"
“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.
—Marcel Proust

3rd Place Judges vote "Girlfriends for Life"

Antigua by Warren Capps

2nd Place Judges vote



Isla de Flores

atardeceres / Chats & Sunsets”
“ The Illegal Ladies Reunion” La Antigua by Kelsey Sanabria y José Carrillo

“Un viejo Amor”

“silly faces” Kiddos we sponsor through Be Humanitarian San Andrés by Tobie Spears
“Amor de mi vida” Puerto de San José by Francisco Hernández
“Âmes sœurs (almas gemelas)” Festival de barriletes, Sumpango

Achi woman serving chocolate at a Maya celebration (by Gg)

Guatemala Chocolate...

a Sweet Love Affair

For chocolate lovers, Guatemala is a sweet place to be on Valentine’s Day. This is especially true if you visit La Antigua Guatemala, where chocoholics can indulge in so many delightful ways. Luscious chocolate bars, exquisite truffles and liquor-filled bonbons are but a few of the beautiful chocolate concoctions that are available at the many artisanal sweet shops scattered throughout town.

And as if this weren’t enough to tempt a sweet tooth, Antigua boasts its own chocolate museum. In addition to producing edible cacao products, the ChocoMuseo educates the public about the entire chocolate-making process through interactive workshops, beautifully crafted exhibits and entertaining tours. If you visit the ChocoMuseo, it’s almost impossible not to be struck by the enormous sense of pride Guatemalans take in their country’s rich chocolate heritage and its acclaim as the birthplace of cacao.

It’s almost impossible not to be struck by the enormous sense of pride Guatemalans take in their country’s rich chocolate heritage
Cacao Chef, Rudy Liman demonstrating the refining process

“All of our chocolate products are handcrafted right here on the premises,” said Carol Pérez, general manager of the ChocoMuseo. Pérez explained that the museum buys most of its high-quality cacao from Alta Verapaz in the north and from Guatemala’s Pacific coast. The cacao is then refined with state-of-the-art equipment at the museum’s location near the arch on 5a avenida. Rudy Limán, one of the museum’s cacao chefs, demonstrated how these machines help to refine the texture of the chocolate.

“The refining process, which takes many hours, is critical,” he stressed, “otherwise you will end up with chocolate that’s either too coarse or too pasty.”

The wo RD CACAo originates from the Maya word ka’kau’. The Maya revered the cacao tree because they believed that ka’kau’ was discovered by gods in a mountain. Carl Linnaeus, a Swedish botanist renowned for classifying plant life, renamed cacao, Theobroma, which translated from Latin means “food of the gods.” In ancient times, the Maya, shamans and Aztec kings all consumed cacao in beverage form and believed it to be an elixir with aphrodisiacal qualities. Cacao is also mentioned in ancient texts for its ceremonial and medicinal uses.

even though cocoa originated in Central America thousands of years ago, its production and popularity have gone global. Some of the largest producers of cocoa in the world are now found in Africa, Asia and South America — more specifically in Ghana and the Ivory Coast, Indonesia, Peru, ecuador and Colombia.

The Maya revered the cacao tree because they believed that ka’kau’ was discovered by gods in a mountain.
Cacao Pods

The main growing region for the Maya in Guatemala was originally located in what is now the department of Suchitepéquez. Today, one of Guatemala’s principle cacaogrowing areas is situated even farther north in Alta Verapaz. Decades ago, Guatemala was designated as one of the world’s top producers of cacao. Sadly, this is no longer the case, as cacao wasn’t considered a cash crop like coffee and sugar cane, which slowly took over as more marketable exports.

on a beautiful morning in late December, I set out in a pickup truck from Cobán in the department of Alta Verapaz with Jorge Caceros, manager of quality control for FeDeCoVeRA, a federation of cooperatives that provides technical assistance and marketing services to cacao-growing communities in and around the municipalities of Baja and Alta Verapaz. we were headed to one of many local parcelas or smaller cacao farms in the vicinity. The major-

Cocoa beans in a freshly cut cocoa pod (by Gg)

Kekchi Maya woman roasting cacao beans in her home

ity of the population in this region is indigenous and the Maya language spoken is Kekchi. Alta Verapaz is also renowned for its “chipi chipi,” a term used to describe the phenomena of fine drizzle that falls throughout the day in the tropics of Guatemala and Mexico.

“Cacao trees require hot, rainy and tropical environments, within 15 degrees latitude north or south of the equator,” stated Caceros. “Cacao also grows best when there are other crops with lush vegetation to provide shade for its trees.”

As we strolled through the parcela, I was struck by the abundance of flourishing and fragrant cardamom and allspice plants that provided the cocoa trees and their precious pods with protective cover.

Caceros noted that although the weather was unusually warm for this time of year

Aztec Figure holding Cacao

and climate change appears to be affecting crops with a likely reduction in product for the first time in 2016, cacao has seen a resurgence in this area in the last couple of years. Because FeDeCoVeRA supports and empowers small farmers, encouraging them to cultivate one of the finest cacao products in the region, so many more of the local producers have additional income now to invest in more land and trees. These smaller investors are being mentored to produce for a larger market.

Three types of cacao trees grow in Guatemala: criollo, forestera and trinitario. Classified as “fine grade,” criollo is the oldest known and rarest variety because it produces the least amount of seeds.

According to Gg, owner and creator of Cacao Junajpu, one of several artisanal chocolate makers in and around Antigua, criollo cacao is the direct descendent of the first cocoa trees domesticated by

Fermented cacao beans ready to sell or process (by Gg)

the Maya over 3,000 years ago. The chocolate derived from this variety is of the highest quality, classified as one of the finest flavored chocolates with no trace of bitterness. She went on to explain that many cacao farmers grow trees that produce lower quality chocolate because they are more resilient to disease and therefore more likely to guarantee a good harvest. Fine cocoa accounts for less than 5 percent of world cocoa production because these trees are susceptible to disease and produce lower yields than other strains of the cocoa tree.

Gg, who came to Guatemala to study with the Maya people, has been producing her exquisite artisanal drinking chocolate for nine years now. “I really wanted to learn how to make ancient Mayan cacao the way it used to be,” she stated. “All of the knowledge is passed down orally, so I moved around and talked to Mayan priests and locals in many Guatemalan communities before starting to experiment with different ingredients.”

what sets fine chocolate apart from much of that produced for the mass mar-

Luscious organic milk chocolate bars at ChocoMuseo

ket is the fermentation process. Unless the beans are first fermented, the full flavor of the chocolate is simply not there. To make chocolate properly, cacao beans and their pulp are fermented before being dried and roasted. From there, the husks are removed and the nibs are ground and refined. About half of the cacao produced in Guatemala is fermented. All eating chocolate is made with fermented cacao, however the majority of cacao consumed in Guatemala is drunk, not eaten.

Although the quantity of cacao produced here has decreased compared to other countries, Guatemala’s chocolate is some of the best in the world and is earning a well-deserved reputation for its high grade and quality.

There are many talented artisanal chocolate makers in Guatemala. If you have the time to explore, the names and websites of some of them with product description, location and history are listed here.


For more information about the ChocoMuseo, its workshops, world-wide locations and a list of all of its edible as well as cacao-inspired beauty products, go to :

To learn about FEDECOVERA’s products, history and inspiring contributions to women’s empowerment, health, education, reforestation and organic production, go to:

ENGLISH FRENCH SPANISH Spoken Dr. Juan Pablo Calderón - Vaccinations - Surgery - X-ray - Dental Clinic Mon-Fri: 8am - 1pm & 2:30 - 6pm - Sat: 9am - 1pm - Ultrasound - Laboratory Services - Emergencies - Export Licenses for pets Tel: 7965 3347 Km. 47 Carr. a Ciudad Vieja Casa #1 San Pedro el Panorama * Gas anesthesia Hospital Veterinario Vet-pro VETERINARY CLINIC

Family, Guatemalan Love and Chocolate

Isurely had a blast this past holiday season with family and friends visiting me for two weeks from Guatemala and Denmark. As we move into the New Year, and Valentine’s Day (día del Cariño) on the 14th, I want to share a dessert recipe that I made for them during their visit.

I created classic chocolate-covered strawberries as an appetizer paired with champagne one evening and chocolate and vanilla crepes for breakfast one morning. My teenage son made hot chocolate another day. A big favorite was the dark chocolate crepes, which include dulce de leche, berries and mint. The batter can be converted easily to gluten-free by substituting

wheat for rice or yucca flour. Because Guatemala is the cradle of the Mayan civilization and chocolate was key for classic Mayan rituals and ceremonies, it continues to be thought of as food of the gods, and it also has a very special place in Guatemalan hearts and cuisine.

Artisanal chocolate producers, from rustic momand-pop shops to larger processors, are abundant throughout the country. higher concentrations are in La Antigua Guatemala and Mixco (near Guatemala City), which is called “La Tierra del Chocolate” (the land of chocolate). Guatemalan chocolate is made with freshly ground roasted cocoa beans, canela (Ceylon cinnamon), sugar and sometimes other flavorings.

text & photos by chef and author Amalia Moreno-Damgaard Amalia’s Kitchen

The chocolate is then pressed into tablets or thick rounds that must be dissolved in hot water or milk for cooking and eating. Cocoa powder, by contrast, is more processed and contains other ingredients. Cocoa powder tastes good when it’s dissolved in hot milk, but it doesn’t taste good in just hot water. Because Guatemalan chocolate is so different from cocoa powder, there’s a world of difference between Guatemalan hot chocolate and American hot cocoa, both in flavor and consistency. For this reason, cocoa is not a good substitute in Guatemalan cooking.

Guatemalan chocolate is also an important ingredient in the classic dish mole de platano (plantain mole) and for tamales negros (black sweet tamales), which are traditionally eaten at Christmas. Sauces can be made by combining chocolate with a higher cocoa butter content

commercial chocolate. Because of the high content of sugar and texture, it is not conducive for eating straight out of the package. The nuances and deep rich flavor and aroma are best appreciated in culinary creations.

Chocolate is available wrapped in manila paper packages in attractive Mayan textile bags at many open-air markets in Antigua and Guatemala City and make great gifts. At supermarkets and grocery stores, chocolate is also available in tablets wrapped in waxed paper with the printed logo of the manufacturer. The chocolate that sells without a logo in bags is artisan and the other one is produced commercially.

Wishing you a sweet Valentine’s Day!!




Recipe by Chef Amalia MorenoDamgaard (

Crepes are not a traditional Guatemalan dessert, but they are popular in Guatemala City. Two Guatemalan ingredients, dark chocolate and dulce de leche, work deliciously with crepes in contrast with the

berries and mint. Canillitas de leche (little milk legs) are the Guatemalan version of dulce de leche presented in a unique way. Dulce de leche is popular throughout Latin America, and every country has its own version and name for it. This is a quick and delicious way to make this dessert into a sauce rather than as the traditional Guatemalan fudge.

Makes 20 to 25 6-inch crepes

Quick Dulce de Leche (Dulce de Leche


1 14-ounce can condensed milk

1 14-ounce can evaporated milk

1 stick canela (Ceylon cinnamon)

1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise (or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract)

Crepe mix (Mezcla para Crepas)

1 1/2 cups dark chocolate milk

3 large eggs

2 1/2 ounces (5 tablespoons) water

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

high-heat cooking spray

Adorno (Garnish)

Guatemalan dark chocolate, ancho and rum sauce (page XX)


Mint sprigs

Mix all the dulce de leche ingredients in a pan and cook slowly over mediumlow heat until the mixture is medium brown and thick, about 1 hour. During the cooking time, stir frequently to keep it from sticking to the pan. when the mixture is ready, let it cool.

Combine all the crepe mix ingredients in a blender in the order listed. Allow the batter to rest for 10 minutes to get rid of any air bubbles. (Alternatively, whisk all the ingredients in a bowl by hand.)

heat a crepe pan or small nonstick skillet and keep it at medium-low heat. Spray it with cooking spray before about every third crepe. Pour about 2 tablespoons of the batter on the skillet to make uniform crepes and swirl the batter around quickly to fully coat the skillet with a thin layer. Cook each crepe until matte or until edges loosen, almost 1 minute on one side and 1 1/2 minutes on the other side. Crepes should be thin and flexible. It may take a couple of crepes to get the hang of it.

Fill the crepes with dulce de leche and roll them or make triangle shapes.

Serve the crepes garnished with chocolate sauce, raspberries and mint sprigs.

Amalia’s Note

To make dark chocolate milk: In a saucepan, combine 1 1/3 cups of skim milk with 4 ounces of Guatemalan dark chocolate. Bring to a quick boil, lower the heat, and simmer uncovered until the chocolate is fully dissolved. Keep a close eye, as milk will foam and boil over. Chill before using.

“La amistad duplica la felicidad / Friendship doubles happiness”

Cumbre del volcán Santa María. Quetzaltenango by Guido De León

“Aventuras” San Miguel Ixtahuacán

“Silueta de amor” Canal de Chiquimulilla, Escuintla

“My other half” Guatemala City

“Amor de hermanos” Un parque de Mixco

Catarata de la Rinconada, San Miguel Dueñas by Samuel López

“Smiles from the Heart / Sonrisas del corazón.”


Place Popular vote "Catching Up" Santiago, Atitlan by Kerstin Sabene


Santa María de Jesus by Wilson Vásquez Orón
A friend is what the heart needs all the time.
—Henry Van Dyke
“Going to the Chapel” Antigua by Jon Wilbrecht
One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood.
—Lucius Annaeus Seneca
daniel Chang Renato Osoy
“sololatecos al muelle”

“BFFs since 1973”

Giovanni Bojorquez
JC Menéndez
typing Class” by Jordan Banks
“Caballos de Monterico” by Oscar Velásquez
Courtesy of ViaVenture

el Paredón

” by Daniel Iguardia
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